On October 18th and 19th, Albania became a hotspot of freshwater science. Renowned scientists from USA, Japan and many European countries participated in the Wild Rivers Science Symposium and the Wild Rivers Night in Tirana. They spent the following day on boats paddling Europe`s last big intact river – the Vjosa. Two days that connected scientists and strengthen their efforts to save the last free flowing rivers.
One day - two events for free rivers! We are pleased to announce the International Wild Rivers Science Symposium and the Wild Rivers Night in Tirana/Albania on October 18th, 2019. The symposium, hosted by the Universities Tirana and Vienna, will bring together renowned scientists from around the world to discuss the condition of the world's last wild rivers. The symposium will end in an entertaining evening event with selected talks and live music.
++ Sediment study of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) proves serious consequences of the planned power plants on the Vjosa ++ For over a year, scientists from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) have been studying the sediment transport of the Vjosa river for different high and low water phases
More than 60 scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany have collected their knowledge about the biodiversity and ecology of the Vjosa on 385 pages. The comprehensive study "The Vjosa in Albania - a riverine ecosystem of European significance", published in Acta ZooBot Austria, was presented by the lead scientists at Tirana International Hotel on December 6th.
++ 80,000 kilometers of rivers in the Balkans scientifically assessed ++ 76 percent thereof identified as no-go zones for hydropower development ++ Switch in energy policy is necessary and possible ++ Three quarters of the rivers in the Balkans are ecologically so valuable, that they should be completely off limits for hydropower development. This is the conclusion of the Eco-Masterplan, which was published today by the NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur.
Between April 17th and May 6th, eleven scientists from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Albania went on an expedition to collect data on biodiversity as well as ecosystem functions for the entire Vjosa river network. With great effort, 300 river kilometers were sampled by use of the most state-of-the-art methods and equipment. During this expedition – led by Dr. Gabriel Singer of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin – the Vjosa’s exceptional value was confirmed once more:
++ International research team finds 300 animal species in only one week, including a new fish and stonefly species ++ Sediment transport could grind electricity generation of the projected hydropower plant Poçem to a halt within 25 years ++ Earlier this year in April, 25 scientists from 4 countries researched the river section of the Vjosa in the area of the projected hydropower plant Poçem.
The impressions of the scientific head of the Vjosa research week in April – Dr. Fritz Schiemer – were published on Patagonia’s Blog “The Cleanest Line”. The blog post explains why the Vjosa is so valuable from a scientific point of view and features stunning photos as well as video, showing the scientists at work
In April, about 30 scientists paparticipated in one week of research on the previously almost unexplored Vjosa river in Albania. All experts were amazed by the complexity and sheer size of the river system and every expertise found something at the Vjosa – species, habitat types, dynamic river processes – that has been long lost on all regulated rivers in central Europe. Watch this 3-minute video about the Scientists for Vjosa week, featuring stunning drone footage of the extensive Vjosa river landscape.
++ 25 scientists from Austria, Albania, Germany and Slovenia research Europe’s last wild river for a week ++ Press conference held on river island ++ A very unusual press conference was held at the Vjosa in South Albania on April 26 – an initiative like this is without par in Europe. On a gravel island in midst of Europe’s last big wild river – the Vjosa – about 25 scientists from four countries gathered to draw attention to the detrimental impacts that are to be expected from the projected “Poçem” dam.
Our group of allies is increasing! Scientists in our network not only lend their own data but also use their independent voices to advocate for the protection of rivers.
The interactive map to explore the region in detail based on different criteria.
The Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers is a comprehensive study which, for the first time, combines knowledge about biodiversity (fish, mussels, caddisflies), integrity of rivers and floodplains (hydromorphology), as well as the location of protected areas.
We are a coalition of NGOs who have launched the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” in order to raise awareness about the imminent dam craze on the Balkan peninsula and to spare the most valuable rivers and river stretches from destruction.